At a time when the signs point to the Browns entrusting the starting quarterback job to rookie Johnny Manziel, one of the team’s key defensive players has cast a decidedly different ballot.
“Me personally, I mean obviously that’s up to the staff and coaches so they’ll make that decision,” linebacker Paul Kruger told 1320 KFAN in Salt Lake City. “But in my mind, [Brian] Hoyer’s the guy. Hoyer came in, won us four games, unfortunately got hurt. But the guy was on fire when he was healthy. He’s proven himself at different levels and has worked extremely hard.”
Actually, Hoyer won only three starts. And one of them came after he exited early with his torn ACL. So he actually won only two games himself, against the Vikings and Bengals.
This year, his effort to win the starting job will hinge, in Kruger’s assessment, on how Hoyer and Manziel perform in the preseason.
“In my mind, Hoyer has been a good leader for us and, you know, somebody who has been able to win us some games,” Kruger said. “So it’s tough to say but I think the preseason will be a big deal for both of them.”
The bigger deal for the Browns will be devising a plan for splitting up preseason reps that will insulate Hoyer and Manziel from playing behind the backup offensive line while giving them both enough time to learn Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
The biggest deal for the Browns will be avoiding a situation in which Hoyer thrives and Manziel becomes the latest Browns quarterback taken 22nd overall in the draft to become a former Brown before ever flourishing.